It’s one of the most notorious error cards in the baseball card collecting hobby: 1989 Fleer No. 616 Bill Ripken, what Professional Sports Authenticator refers to as the “FF Error.”

“FF,” here, standing for “F--- Face,” the words clearly written in black ink on the knob of the bat Ripken is resting on his right shoulder, legible for kids and collectors ripping open packs 35 years ago.

Now, one of the last major manufacturers of baseball cards, Topps, is paying tribute to the error on some of the rookie cards of Orioles phenom Jackson Holliday, only with the much more family friendly “Fun Face” scribbled on the end of the lumber.

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The card is a short print in the 2024 Topps Series 2 set, meaning it is not part of the regular checklist and there are fewer copies. As such, it is highly sought after by collectors. Several examples recently sold on eBay for between $350-$530. Meanwhile, another short-printed Holliday card in the set with a more traditional batting photo is going for closer to $100 on the auction site.

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On Monday, Topps released video from the photo session for the card at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The 20-year-old Holliday was shown a graded copy of the Ripken card, released 14 years before he was born, and handed a Sharpie to write the G-rated inscription. He then stands on the field to strike a similar pose to Ripken, smiling and holding a bat on his shoulder, only it’s his left.

The tribute didn’t make its debut until June 12 when packs and boxes of 2024 Topps Series 2 started hitting shelves.

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The story does not end there. Sixteen days after the card was released, The Sun’s Tim Kurkjian published a story on Jan. 19, 1989, about the obscenity on the card. A noted prankster, Ripken said he believed his teammates got one over on him, and he felt bad so many young people were exposed to a curse word.

“I know I’m kind of a [jerk] at times. I know I’m a little off,” he said. “But this is just going too far.”

It soon became a national story. Fleer tried to recall shipments of the cards and blocked out the words on the bat in subsequent printings, according to press accounts. Of course, that only made the uncorrected copies in the marketplace even more desirable among collectors.

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All the ways Fleer corrected the Ripken card created even more rarities. PSA has graded — when an appraiser assigns a numerical grade to a card corresponding to its condition, and the card is then encased in plastic — four variants: Black Box Over Error, Black Scribble Over Error, Scribbled Out in White and Whited Out Vulgarity, with the black box being the most common.

A website dedicated to the card,, claims there are more, including a “saw cut” version in which a blade was used at the factory to take out a vertical strip of the card — believed to be a mark to prevent an uncorrected copy from being packaged and shipped to stores, even though some have clearly made it into the hands of collectors.

There’s even more when you account for various printing errors that made it past quality control.

Knowing that history, Topps has made multiple versions of the Holliday card with “Fun Face” covered over or scribbled out, and even its own “saw cut.” Five different types, including the unaltered “Fun Face” version, are currently for sale on eBay.

It wasn’t until years later that Ripken finally came clean. Yes, he wrote “F--- Face” on the bat, but not with the idea that it would end up on a baseball card.

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He received a shipment of bats in 1988 that were too heavy but kept one to use in batting practice. Since all the players’ batting practice bats were kept together in a cart, Ripken wanted to write something distinctive on the knob so he could quickly grab his and head to the cage if he was in a rush.

“I don’t know why I chose that phrase,” he told Dan Patrick in 2013.

During a road game at Boston’s Fenway Park, Ripken completed a round of batting practice, tossed his bat to the side so he could run the bases, and picked it up for his next round of swings. A photographer asked to take his picture and Ripken agreed, not even thinking about what he had written.

It didn’t become apparent until the cards were released in January 1989. The rest is baseball card history.

“When people recognize me, I see the look on their face,” Ripken told CNBC in 2008. “They think of the card immediately and, before they even ask, I say, ‘Yeah, it was me.’”

All these years later, some will now think of Holliday, too.